Gotten a bit lax at blog updates recently – it’s been a busy summer – but now that the Ennies nominations have landed, it seems like a good time to glance at my predictions, mark my homework, and give a bit of an update on some of the weirdness I talked about last time.
WHAT I GOT RIGHT
First of all: a link to the nominations. I hope that link stays active, the Ennies website has an annoying habit of editing in the Gold and Silver winners directly onto the nominations page, destroying all evidence of other nominees in the process.
Feng Shui 2 picked up the Best Rules/Best Game/Product of the Year nominations I predicted, whilst the Dracula Dossier (which has enough stretch-goal funded side content to be eligible for Best Supplement AND Best Adventure, it turns out) got the Product of the Year nod too. Dragon Age, the product selected to champion the Adventure Gaming Engine as a whole, missed out on Best Rules, but it got Best Game and Product of the Year nominations, so I’m counting it.
Lone Wolf wasn’t nominated for Product of the Year, but it was nominated for Best Rules. Half-right. (Though questionable – from listening to Joe Dever at UK Games Expo 2016, the rules are just a minor update to a very, VERY old system). And I was right about No Thank You, Evil! Doing pretty well so far…
WHAT I GOT WRONG
Major research fail on Delta Green – I assumed the Agents Handbook, which Arc Dream submitted for consideration, was the new edition of the core rulebook. It isn’t – it’s basically the teaser for the core rulebook coming later this year . Consequently it wasn’t eligible for Best Game, and didn’t have the firepower for a Product of the Year nomination. My guess is it will make the list for the Ennies 2017.
Biggest surprise for me is the complete snubbing of the Cypher System Rulebook – in spite of (or perhaps because of) Numenera winning Product of the Year in 2014, and The Strange getting a few silver wins in 2015. Perhaps the logic is that game publishers should not be rewarded for putting out setting-neutral books for systems that have already received awards recognition? I dunno. Better look next year Monte!
A smattering of nominations for Cthulhu Britannica London, and no love at all for Nefertiti Overdrive, though I noted those were both long shots. All in all, I’m giving myself a rating of about 60%. Not great, but plenty of room to do better next year!
WHAT I MISSED
Oh shit, I forgot about Curse of Strahd. My failure to note this for Product of the Year and Best Adventure signals nothing, other than my total disconnect from the D20 gaming scene. And also that I’m an idiot.
Urban Shadows and War of Ashes both made my shortlist, but I didn’t feel confident enough to put my money where my mouth was with an actual prediction. Should have been bolder! Urban Shadows has done particularly well, with a complete Rules/Game/Product of the Year nomination sweep. And obviously it’s delightful to see War of Ashes get acknowledgement, given it’s how this blog started.
The other four Product of the Year nominations are all games I’ve never heard of. Which is exciting! This is my favourite thing about the Ennies – bringing my attention to critically acclaimed games I would otherwise never be exposed to. So let’s see what we’ve got…
First up is Maze of the Blue Medusa, which is… a D20 adventure. By Zak S, of all people. According to the promo text, “Maze of the Blue Medusa is a dungeon. Maze of the Blue Medusa is art.” I think I’ll pass.
Next is Snow White, which is… another D20 adventure, this one a 3.5 escort quest. Starting to lose my enthusiasm. Apparently it includes “mechanics for falling in love”. FINALLY, ROLEPLAYING GAME DESIGNERS HAVE THE ANSWER.
Alright, what’s next… “Ten Candles is a storytelling game of tragic horror designed for one-shot sessions. It is played by the light of ten tea light candles which provide atmosphere, act as a countdown timer for the game, and allow you to literally burn your character sheet away as you play… it is a game about what happens in the dark, and about those who try to survive within it.” Hold up. That sounds amazing. And it seems to be getting rave reviews as well (“Ten Candles basically just kills Dread and takes its stuff” claims The Alexandrian). Consider my enthusiasm restored! Surely one to buy at GenCon, if I can.
Finally, there’s Degenesis, a German post-apocalyptic game with an extremely detailed setting and a massive rulebook. Online buzz seems positive, but learning a whole new setting from scratch is something me and my players will never do, and as I’ve said before, large rulebooks scare me. So, probably not for me, but I think the trailers are pretty cool!
Alright, let’s give this a go…
Best Adventure: Curse of Strahd (Gold), The Dracula Dossier (Silver).
Best Family Game: No Thank You Evil! (Gold), War of Ashes (Silver).
Best Game: Dragon Age (Gold), Feng Shui 2 (Silver)
Best Rules: Feng Shui 2 (Gold), War of Ashes (Silver)
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Dragon Age (Gold), Feng Shui 2 (Silver)
We’ll find out how well I did in August I guess.
ADDENDUM: WHY SOME GAMES WEREN’T NOMINATED
As a final note, my last post talked about some games that hadn’t been submitted for Ennies contention. Mostly I focused on Force and Destiny – partly because it’s a great, heavyweight release that might have expected awards attention if it has been submitted, but also because Fantasy Flight Games were nice enough to get back to me first! Since posting though, I’ve heard back from a couple of other people…
- Another game nominated for an Origins Award but not submitted to the Ennies was Fall of Magic, a beautiful little scroll-based RPG by Ross Cowman. I asked Ross why it was that Fall of Magic had been submitted to the Origins Awards but not the Ennies. His response was more than reasonable: “The ennies requires you send them 6 copies of your game to be considered for a nomination. Fall of Magic includes a hand silkscreened scroll and retails for $75. It is tough for a small publisher like myself to send out $500 in product and postage. We’re selling as fast as we are producing right now and I felt I had to pick between which con I was going to submit to. I chose Origins because I already knew I was attending this year.“
- In their weekly round-up, Onyx Path Publishing gave a very brief explanation of why they hadn’t submitted any products to the Ennies: “No big statement, no message, and I certainly think the books we published last year stand up proudly as possible award winners; I just didn’t feel like submitting works with our business strategy right now.“
- No more news from Fantasy Flight Games. I got a tip off from someone on their forums about a disagreement with the Ennies judges about an Edge of the Empire Beginner Box, but nothing I’ve been able to corroborate or get details for.
And as a sign-off to all this awards nonsense: Force and Destiny is now an Origins Award winner. Congratulations!